Second day: Warwickshire lead West Indies A by 132 runs with five first-innings wickets in hand.
A career-best century from Ian Westwood dominated the second day of Warwickshire's match against West Indies A.
Westwood's third first-class century helped his side take full toll of a remarkably sloppy fielding performance from the tourists and set up a possible victory on the final day.
It is Westwood's fighting qualities that are most admirable. He will never ease the ball through cover with the grace of David Gower, but when the flak is at his thickest, he is the sort of character you want in your side.
It would be wrong to suggest he is not capable of attractive cricket, however. He pulls and cuts efficiently and is quick to drive anything overpitched. Upon reaching his century yesterday, having faced 229 balls, he also allowed himself the luxury of a few more expansive shots.
At his best, however, West-wood is patient, compact and resilient. It is not always riveting, but it is highly effective and, in a season characterised by batting collapses, exactly the thing Warwickshire require.
Earlier in the season - and at times yesterday - he was lured into fishing at deliveries outside his off stump. Yet he batted all day and didn't give a chance until past his century. He has faced 313 deliveries for his unbeaten 177, struck 23 fours and hit a slog-sweep for six.
Tino Best, all muscle, bustle and menace, produced some tremendously fast deliveries, and more than once hurried Westwood. But the batsman showed courage and technique and fully deserved to come out on top.
Some credit is also due to the Warwickshire coach, Mark Greatbatch. Others might have discarded a man who failed to pass 30 in his first ten Championship innings this season. But Greatbatch believes in the young left-hander, reasoned that many of the early-season pitches were desperately difficult to bat upon and has been rewarded for his faith. Westwood has now passed 50 in each of his last three first-class games.
He was one of few Warwickshire batsmen to take the chance to impress, however. Though Mark Wagh produced a few pleasing shots, he was never at his best and could have perished several times before slicing a drive to point.
Navdeep Poonia, on first-class debut, crashed a couple of pleasing boundaries, but will have to rein in some of his attacking flair if he is to prosper at this level. It was no real surprise when he holed out, trying to hit the gentle spin of Dave Mohammed into Cannon Hill Park.
Poonia will depart tonight to represent Scotland against Ireland in the European Championships tomorrow and looks to be on the brink of a career that will infuriate and delight in equal measure.
Alex Loudon never settled. Despite being gifted a life on two, he soon hit a full toss to mid-wicket and looks short of luck, form and confidence.
Luke Parker seemed to have battled through a sticky start only to give it away with a clumsy pull, while Moeen Ali soon lost his off-stump, half-forward to a good one that left him. Ali, who is now the subject of formal approaches from Sussex and Worcestershire, stroked one sublime cover boundary, but couldn't have left too much of an impression on the watching Geoff Arnold, the former Surrey and England seamer who now coaches - and scouts - for Surrey.
Still, the Warwickshire team, containing perhaps two men sure of their place in the Championship side, will be much more satisfied than their opponents. Tony Frost, timing the ball as well as anyone, helped Westwood add an unbroken stand of 108 for the sixth wicket and they resume this morning 132 runs ahead.
For if this is the second-best team the Caribbean can assemble, then cricket in the West Indies must be in desperate trouble.
The two opening bowlers apart, this West Indies A side has been awful. Although Best and Daren Powell generated substantial pace, they were terribly let down by a fielding display of rare ineptitude.